The hope of most of us who supported the efforts of Women Liberation was that life would get better for mothers, fathers, and children. Instead, the corporate world saw women as cheaper labor and instead of choice we got more stress. Even with the Family Leave Act, so little support is offered parents that it is no wonder divorce rates climb , dissatisfaction grows, and even fathers are finding themselves stressed to their limits.
My children and my foster children taught me the importance of dealing effectively with stress and started me on the road to developing Emotional Fitness Training, Inc. The following things helped me survive the stress of living with often anger, blaming, unhappy, acting out teenaged foster children:
- Getting help from lots of other people, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, professionals. Make sure you have what I came to call an Added Care Team.
- Taking time for me. I always tried to devote an hour a day to my happiness; once a week, at least, I took a three hour break away from house and home doing something for me, I also planned and took three or four mini-me vacations–usually a weekend with nurturing friends–a year. David did the same.
- Having regular fun time with those I loved. As a family we had joke nights, went swimming, hiked, did the occasional movie, got to the beach, camped, played games, watched sitcoms together. As a couple, David and I always watched Johnnie Carson’s monologues before falling asleep. Saved our marriage.
- Keeping treats special. Icecream everyday is not a treat. An occasional Hot Fudge Sunday is special. Even Disney World visited too often bores.
- Downplaying material possessions. Playing up doing the right thing.
- Not expecting a child to think like an adult.
- Not expecting a kid, even a grown kid, to be happy when told “No, ” to something they wanted.
- Ignoring the small stuff and the big stuff that I could not control.
- Remembering my mission as a parent: To keep my kids alive, to teach them right from wrong, and to prepare them for life.
- Reminding myself constantly “Now is not forever.”
Parenting is not easy. Babies cry, toddlers fall, the twos are terrible, school is rarely easy, teens try parents’ souls, kids of all ages get hurt, sick, and fail at some things. However, most kids make it to adulthood safely and lead okay lives. When we and our children are lucky, blessed as some say, all survive, and for the most part thrive. Usually the love goes on. If we are very lucky, we become grandparents and know the wonder of watching a child grow with less angst and greater enjoyment. Stay strong.